BVI News

FS, BVITB Chairman endorsed BVI Airways to gov’t?

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said his administration was convinced BVI Airways was reliable because a number of government affiliates had endorsed the airline.

During a media conference on Thursday, Premier Smith was asked whether he thought government had ‘lapses in due diligence’ when they chose to do business with the reportedly defunct airline.

The Premier did not give a straightforward answer. However, he identified two persons – Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board Russell Harrigan, as well a leading personnel in his Ministry – as being part of a delegation that met with BVI Airways then reported back to government.

“The group that we got involved with (BVI Airways) was highly recommended by some of our legal counsel. Also, we had discussions with them and we sent representatives. That is, our financial secretary and the Chairman of the Tourist Board … That’s the reason we went forward because it seemed, from the presentation [by BVI Airways], it was a good deal,” Dr Smith told journalists.

Neil Smith served as Financial Secretary at the time government signed the fateful deal with BVI Airways.

‘These things take time’

Following that response, Premier was asked why efforts to recoup the $7.2 million invested in the airline seem to be stagnant.

The Smith administration has been claiming for months now that the Attorney General is counselling government on how to proceed with the airline-related dispute.

“The progress may seem slow to you but these things do take time when it comes to resolving issues we have.”

“For example, a case involving a extradition which has been going on for years. So, the progress is a matter of the discussions that take place between the lawyers – who represent the government – and the information we need to carry out to continue the discussions.”

The premier was further elusive when asked questions on whether the government is in active discussions with the airline.

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  1. Sam the man says:

    It’s long time Dr Smith stepped aside I know I’ve upset many with comments about his reported lack of a—-, shyness to be accountable and failure to ever even publish just one set of audited yearly government accounts as Minister of Finance – but hey as Premier you are never going to kick your own arse even if it is well deserved for dereliction of duty…The missing $7,000,000.00 will never be recouped as this No Direction Party is totally clueless…their excuses are pathetic …so and so said they were ok so we invested tax payers money! without proper due diligence or even thinking responsibly about it – well he’s now got his legacy…he’ll be remembered for the missing airline and millions forever!

    Like 18
    • L says:

      $7.2 million. Don’t forget the .2. That’s $200,000 I don’t have.

      Like 10
    • Albion says:

      The Premier’s reply is really no reply at all. He sent two people to meet with the principals of BVI Airways, they said that they were nice, so he gave them $7.2 million.

      That is not due diligence. Due diligence is requesting (and then reviewing) financial records, trading history, audited accounts, asset registers and just taking a look at who you are dealing with and what they have been doing. I am guessing (because he didn’t mention any of these things), that absolutely nothing like that was done at all.

      These repeated half-denials should just stop. The Premier should just admit: we made a bad mistake. We never did the checks which we should have done. We will learn our lesson and try never to make the same mistake again.

      It is not like this is the first time. The list of stupid contracts which have cost the BVI taxpayer millions goes on and on: BiWater, Beef Island bridge, the Hospital, the Pier Park. Nobody in Government has any clue about how to work in procurement and how to sign a proper deal with safeguards. We just need to draw a line in the sand and actually start doing this properly or we will keep having the same conversation over again.

      Like 23
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      • Luvz says:

        I find he is making excuses and shifting blame to these two individuals. We the citizens need answers. I applaud Hon Fahie for keeping at this saga.

        Like 7
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    • BVIYoungman says:

      He’ll be remembered for that mess YES!

      and look at he trying to put the blame on the Financial Secretary and The BVITB chairman. This man Slick Badddddd. smh

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
    • Why? says:

      Orlando so rich.
      Why I’m so po?
      Why the internet is slow?
      Why the roads be broken?
      Why the schools be broken?
      Why the power be broken?
      Why the water be broken?
      Why even the dump be broken?
      Why we so broken?

      Like 16
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  2. Hand clap says:

    Throwing ppl under the bus are we?

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  3. LOL says:

    They are a corporation I am sure does not have a cent to their name, good luck sweating blood from a stone. I am sure that has all been premeditated, seeing how they never had a schedule or a fare set.

  4. Wow says:

    Your time is up (thankfully) …goodbye

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  5. Oh Premier says:

    What have you done? No proper due diligence or yet more poor excuses. Taxpayers’ money is soo easy to waste; be it one’s private enterprise, this would have never fly. Ooch!

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  6. I, Ronnie says:

    Don’t tell me – you can’t retrieve our $7m because it is hidden in some ‘perfectly legal’ secrecy jurisdiction and the trail now gone cold.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
    • Albion says:

      There is no $7 million. It was all spent. J— W—— is not living in some penthouse up in New York drinking champagne courtesy of the BVI taxpayer.

      He took the money. Spent it badly (including on himself). And now it is all gone.

      More fool us.

      Like 7
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    • Trust says:

      Hidden under your nose in BVI SHELL COMPANY. LOOK FOR BOs. Lol.

      Like 4
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  7. Well sah says:

    So Doc them finally admitted that —- were behind Bob and the others case?

    Like 2
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  8. Smh says:

    Governor please get up and do your work and instruct the Police to launch an immediate criminal investigation in this matter.

    Like 11
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    • Charles says:

      Did you or any of your family members receive a “finders fee” or any other beneficial interest in our $7milllion investment?

      Elected officials should be required to submit financial disclosure forms for themselves and family members. They should certainly disclose if they are the beneficiaries of any BVI Corporation.

      Does everyone agree?

      Like 15
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  9. Lordie says:

    And you believe that Myron would have done differently????

    They all in bed together and it was all a s—-. I am very disappointed in the Premier. He got rid of his Financual Sec but held on to Russell who he said was the a link to this so called good deal.

    I would like to know how much more — ———– in the Tourist Board? —– more I am sure. We never get a financial report from the tourist board on how we spend our marketing dollers.

    They up and down drinking wine making things seems fine but under the —— —– what is mine! Tax payers dollars!

    Fire — immediately!

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
    • Playing deaf says:

      You are going to really sit there and try to compare Myron and Dr. Smith? Look at how Myron handles his ministry? Look at the progress in education. Look at the progress his ministry made right after the hurricane. No other minister was able to pull his ministry together as quicker and as organized. Look at how Myron communicated every step of the way after the storms to tell us what was happening. Look at his elevation as a business man in tourism and law. Regardless of what you think Myron is a progressive thinker and doer. Some of you all playing dead and blind meh so. I am a person who moves on facts not gossip and what I hear other people say. I’m sorry.

      Like 8
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      • Hmmm Sorry says:

        If he did do well why are our schools suffering so much?

        Like 13
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        • Soo juvenile says:

          I wonder where you were in September last year? We sound soo juvenile when we expect the country to be fixed after 9 months of disaster from a category 5 hurricane. Do we really expect everything to be back to normal this soon? If so, then those believe that really have no clue about what it takes to build a country.

          Like 2
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      • waylox says:

        All of the schools look like trash, What about the million dollar wall? What about the library?

        Like 13
        Dislike 1
      • Real MVP says:

        Whatever sacrifices are made to keep schools running is on the backs of teachers… real unsung heroes who take little and make much and go the extra mile on fumes instead of gas.

        We like to chase glitter and rejoice in fickle and temporary smoke screens instead of supporting the tedious processes that will yield appropriate and long term results.

    • Wonga says:

      So you can see the future? How can you say Myron or anybody else wouldnt have done different? This was wholesale carelessness point blank!

      • Haha says:

        Somebody need to tell that —- (playing deaf) that all of the Ministers were in favor of all the big NDP projects including this highway robbery.

  10. THANOS"I hope they remember you" says:

    Check RUSSELL THE —– HARRIGAN A——–! CHECK NEIL S—– T—– Smith B—– A———-!

    Like 4
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  11. My My says:

    My My My My My MY…all I can say is oh My!
    I say nothing more

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  12. Rubber Duck says:

    How many airlines have the tourist board dealt with? Whoever framed the contract with the “ airline” is the head that should roll.

    • FACTS says:

      The Chairman of the Tourist Board is totally different for the employees of the board. The Chairman is appointed politically and the employees of the board from the top to bottom had NO say.

  13. What!! says:

    How could they think they were an upfront company when they had left the BVI owing $??? to the airport authority for fees???!

    Like 12
  14. LOL says:

    Can someone tell me what 7 Million dollars you all expect to get back and from where? That money is DEAD. You can’t run an Airline on 7 million dollars. One plane costs more than 7 Million dollars. The people did what they were paid to do, deliver 2 planes (Leased) and get the necessary authorization to fly those planes to the US. That was done! Did I cost 7 Mill? I have no idea? The problem is you can’t run an airline on 2 flights per week to the US and not go bankrupt… I understand we want our money back but I don’t know where you going get it from. It’s not like they just took our money and ran off. They took the money, did what they were asked to then said hey, we need more money to make this work, this isn’t enough….

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
    • Right says:

      The most sensible post on this topic. 7 mil could hardly purchase, set up and operate a proper ferry servicr but we expected it to produce aircraft, staffing, approvala etc. LOL! If Im not mistaken the VI Airlink guys had a propsal to fly direct to and from Miami and it was for $50mil to get aircrafts and start the operations. The govt should have facilitated their contribution to the project in tax and other incentives as opposed to raw cash. It was simply a bad investment.

      Like 8
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    • Jus saying says:

      I do not think 2 planes were ever delivered. One was sitting up north on a runway with a lein against it. Was never going to happen.

    • hm.. says:

      So all of this was not planned out or know BEFORE the contract?????

  15. Political Observer (PO) says:

    A true leader steps forward and shoulder the blame for failures and share the praise for successes. The Premier is throwing the FS, and TB chairperson under bus, drive over them, back up over them and drive over them again. Here is a news flash. Has the Premier heard of ultimate responsibility. Responsibility cannot be delegated. Neil Smith, FS, and Russel Harrigan, Chairperson of BVITB, served in advisory positions. Their recommendations were but a few that Premier should have taken under advisement. In the end, the final decision was the Premier’s.

    Moreover, in retrospect, were the recommendations by Neil and Russel to proceed with the BVI Airways agreement solid recommendations? No. However, a political leader needs at minimum two skills: political skills/sense and administrative ability. Nonetheless, on this agreement, both were missing in action. The Premier as the leader of government business and MoF just needs to step forward and acknowledged that a mistake was made and move forward in retrieving the txpayers $7.2M.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
    • @po says:

      Collective cabinet responsibility.

    • Sweetie says:

      I agree with you Political Observer. It seems however unfortunately that our country along with many others is devoid of leadership. Look at England with their own messes: throwing out Caribbean national who went to aid them as they rebuilt after the war; and the Brexit debacle. Look at America with that leader. The world is in a crisis of leadership. It is time to let the young people handle their world. We have made a complete mess of it. We have some brilliant young people here. Give them a chance – do not elect anyone over retirement age who doesn’t understand modern tech and modern business.

  16. Not Sure!!!!! says:

    Well….I am sure legal counsel got his fees $$$$$$$!!!!!! Why would they be introduced to these people knowing their issues with starting up air lines.

  17. pointing the fingers says:

    The pointing the fingers thing getting old

  18. Baltia Airline says:

    Geez, don’t you know how to search Google? Have you heard of Wikipedia? What motivated you to give them $7 mil of our money?

    It’s 28 years old and hasn’t taken off it. It was labeled the largest scam in aviation history (see footnote)

  19. Man Up says:

    Dr. Smith, please be a real man and a real leader and accept responsibility for this blunder. Explain that it was well intended but didn’t work out. People like me would have some level of respect for you. Playing the blame game has caused me to lose all the respect I had for you over the years.

  20. Tellitall says:

    He sound Shady need to check all of the delegation personal financial actions from that time and the real thieves are the highly Educated Ones think they smarter than the people and communities that give them that power !!!!!

  21. PRT says:

    I have always say The Premier depends on the Financial Secretary to advise him. —- —- don’t and never knew a thing about finances. And after all the rediculus advices — gave the premier that cost us the tax payers millions far beyond the seven everyone is talking about, before the premier fired — he gave h– a promotion

  22. Interested says:

    No words.

  23. Dog man says:

    Dr.sleeping u need to b put in jail. No joke we the people work very hard n u up n giving away monet like that . U a not ready. U should had listing to the bull n the #2 seat.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  24. Hah says:

    The Premier is a f—–. He blamed the one man that was trying the hardest to prevent this debacle. If he listed to Fahie or even did some research for himself after Fahie voiced his concerns he wouldn’t have been the worst leader in BVI history. Let’s review some of the NDP’s biggest blunders so far. Pier Park overspent by over $30million and will end up forking up some more after Skelton Cline wins the law suit. NHI was created to save money because the few people that government had to pay their bills to fly away for treatment was too much now NHI is losing money. $8 million spent on the invisible plane. Million dollar wall in high school while begging parents to provide their own toilet paper.

    Like 3
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  25. Dont stop the Carnival! says:

    Could be the most honest statement made by anyone in this government. Who could make up stuff like this? Perhaps the next chapter will start …
    “Once upon a time, some ‘CONsultants’ earned a fat fee for making recommendations…”

  26. NDP says:

    Doc. I have two questions for you…1 Did you write that stupid contract? 2. Dis you pay out the money?
    If the answers are no then you need not worry. Ayo look for the real culprits.

  27. Brad Boynes says:

    “The Premier did not give a straightforward answer”

    When does this individual ever do? Znd the people accept this bull every time. Sad state of affairs…. People need to rise up and challenge this individual for answers. This tax payer dones not feel like paying any more taxes until this individual who leading this country come straight. He swore on a d*&n Bible tof lead truthfully. Time will tell.

  28. Wes says:

    The buck stops at the top. Man up and take the blame Doc

  29. $1.2M says:

    While he is at it instruct the AG to get back out $1.2M from the high school wall

  30. Truth says:

    Finally Doc is telling the truth here. Everyone knows BVITB chairman is a ——. Him and the entire management team at BVITB needs to ————, especially the — he have scratching –s back because — allowed h– to stay in NYC. Chairman how much was your — of the 7.2M? Do tell!

    Like 1
    Dislike 1

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